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Filter media maintenance

PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 12:20 pm
by Cajuncoastie
Hi all,

This is my first post so go easy on me please. I looked for a similar one with no luck. I set up a 75 gallon Mbuna tank about a month ago and the fish are doing great. I'm using a Marineland 360 canister filter and I'm a fan so far. I've seen several different opinions on how to maintain the different media in the filter to maintain good bacteria and was hoping to get your opinions. This particular filter uses ceramic rings, bio-filter balls, 3 carbon filter bags, 2 filter foam, and a filter floss pad.

The instructions state to rinse ceramic rings and bio-filter balls regularly with tank water, rinse filter foam every 3 weeks and replace after 9, and replace filter floss pad and carbon bags once a month. That said, I've heard different opinions and wanted to see if I could get a consensus as this is the first time I've ever used a cartridge filter. and want to maintain good bacteria.

For what it's worth, I use an aragonite substrate called Eco-complete: African Cichlid that I absolutely love. I have about 80 lbs of Texas holey rock in there and 25 juvenile Mbuna. My ph maintains an 8.2, KH and GH hover around 11, and my temps maintain around 79-81, Any tips on anything I can do better here are welcome as well. I have had absolutely no issues so far (knock on wood) and get great numbers on my weekly water tests. I just want to be smart about filter maintenance so I can hopefully keep it that way.

Thanks in advance.

Re: Filter media maintenance

PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 1:57 pm
by Deeda
Hi and Welcome to C-F!!

I don't personally own that brand/model canister filter but the usual recommendation for maintaining canister filters is to rinse hard media and foam in a separate container of tank water enough to remove particulates (dirt), replace fine media or pads IF they can't be rinsed relatively cleanly and optionally to replace any carbon media as needed to maintain water clarity. Many people do not use carbon unless removing medications from the aquarium after a bout of illness though some people do use carbon regularly.

The frequency of cleaning any filter is dependent on the bio-load of the tank and how dirty the filter gets after X amount of time. However, dirt and food particles do get trapped in any filter and need to be removed frequently enough to keep the filter running at its best AND to help reduce nitrates since debris in the filter continues to get trapped and break down between cleaning.

I don't see a need to replace filter foam UNLESS you see it breaking down and not fitting properly.

Can you post your tank water test results for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate?

Re: Filter media maintenance

PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 2:27 pm
by Sub-Mariner
It's hard to say about replacing because I have no clue what those cartridges look like and it's also hard to say how often to clean because I don't have that filter and I don't have the same tank setup as you but with most filters, just pay attention to your outputs flow and you will know when it's starting to get clogged up based on the decreased flow. Since the tank is only a month old I personally wouldn't touch the canister for at least 3 months. Let the bacteria live in peace for a bit to get established but if you do noticed a decrease in flow in the first few months just clean the mechanical, leave the bio alone for now.

Regarding bio and mechanical just rinse both in tank water when needed. I've cleaned my sponges and mechanical media in tap water before with no ill effects. Sometimes you need force IE: sink or hose to really clean out the gunk from your mechanical media. When you open your filter to clean the mechanical just take a look at the bio and if it's gunked up give it a rinse or dunk if it's in a media bag. If the bio is still relatively clean leave it be until the next filter cleaning.

Re: Filter media maintenance

PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 7:53 am
by ironspider
I use two canisters and clean them every two months or so on an alternating basis. I threw away the carbon but otherwise use the same setup but I never rinse the floss pads, they are cheap and just replace them when cleaning.

Re: Filter media maintenance

PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 8:41 am
by Cajuncoastie
Thanks for the good info all. Much appreciated.

Dee, to answer your question, I just did a 1/3 water change and gave it 24 hours. My numbers as of this morning for the 3 are:
ammonia 0 ppm
nitrite 0 ppm
nitrate 10.0 ppm
pH 8.2
gH 11
kH 11

Re: Filter media maintenance

PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:14 pm
by Deeda
Good suggestions from other members as well!

I do like the numbers on your test results so it sounds good. My concern was since your tank is so new and you already had fish that it was possible the tank wasn't fully cycled but it looks good.