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I agree on that last comment about the porous media becomming clogged. I have had my 2026 running for many years and I don't think I've ever replaced the hard media. I do rinse it in tank water about once a month (about every other water change) and replace the blue coarse pad and fine white pad as needed (more often on the white than the blue).

Anyway, lately it seems that despite all my great tank maintenance and super healthy mbunas, the tank just doesn't look so good between water changes. After only 2 weeks or so, it starts to look less pristine. I need to check my nitrates but I suspect it might finally be time to replace that hard media. That's pretty much the only thing in the tank that hasn't been changed out on some sort of a regular basis. The sponges in my HOB filters get changed from time to time, as does the cartridge on my powerhead prefilter. No new fish in ages, same water change schedule... it's gotta be something that has built up too much gunk.
 
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