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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,
Two days ago I cleaned my filter good, its sadly been awhile since its last good cleaning.my ammonia, nitrite and nitrates are high and I know I wiped out some of my bacteria but I had to clean the filter Its been a long time since its last maintenance.did I basically unicycle my tank and am I going to have problems with my levels for se real weeks now?what else could I have done?the filter needed a good cleaning I had an algae bloom a couple weeks ago and finally got it under control but algae was still living in the intake tunes so I literally scrubbed everything clean on the filter.I appreciate any advice a[/code]nd thanks in advance.
Kayla,
 

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clean the media in tank water next time.

better an algae bloom than a mini-cycle.
 

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Glaneon said:
clean the media in tank water next time.

better an algae bloom than a mini-cycle.
+1

You are going through a mini cycle. You won't have to completely re-cycle the tank. You still have good bacteria in your substrate and on rocks etc. I would do about a 50% water change to bring the readings down and keep doing water changes if you are still getting ammonia and/or nitrite readings. You should also dose the tank with Prime or something similar to detoxify the ammonia to save your fish.

It's a common mistake that we have all made at some point, so don't be too upset. Like Glaneon said, just be sure to clean filters with tank water in the future. Tap water has chlorine that kills the good bacteria. Good luck!
 

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literally scrubbed everything clean on the filter
You should never scrub everything clean. Filter media should only be rinsed gently in tank water, as said, never scrubbed thoroughly. Many filters have media designed to harbor beneficial bactera, and that media is prefiltered by some type of pad that does mechanical filtration. The mechanical filter pads get rinsed more thoroughly and even sometimes replaced. The biomedia is what you rinse gently. Keep in mind all media will harbor some bacteria, but by only aggressively cleaning some of it, you don't wipe it all out. More specifics recommendations can be given if you let us know what filter you have and the media it contains.

Regarding your situation, water changes to keep ammonia and nitrite down to 1ppm or below, light feedings every other day or so, along with a detox product like Prime or Ammolock is what I'd recommend. There are beneficial bacteria everywhere in the tank, so you shouldn't have to go through the normal time to cycle, but hard to say in every situation how long you may be facing these spikes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks guys I was afraid that's what I'd done by cleaning it too well.I have a whisper 60 which only holds two charcoal filter pads so I'd removed those and unfortunately scrubbed every piece of algae I could out of the intake tubes and out of the water Wells in the back.ugh I cannot believe I didn't know better.I never clean it so well I'd just gotten tired of how dirty the tubes looked.=) I'll do my water changes and hopefully since I didn't clean anything but the filter it'll only last a couple days.would you do a 55%would water change?would it be beneficial at all to all to put some of my gravel in the filter?
 

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which only holds two charcoal filter pads
Sounds like the old style, I used to run those. The newer ones have a sponge that fits onto a plastic insert, so you never have to completely remove/replace the filter media, at least not all of it. This sits behind the carbon pouch filter bag. Unless they were practically falling apart, I just rubbed the gunk off of them in a bucket of tank water as best as I could weekly. If you need to replace them, never replace both at the same time. And you probably can stop using the carbon unless you already have it on hand. The filter bags should be rinsed frequently so that they can continue to be a good place for beneficial bacteria. The difficulty with this design is that you have the mechanical filtration also trying to act as biofiltrattion. It can work if there's plenty of surface area for biofiltration around the system, but this is apparently not true in your case. For instance, if you had a heavily rocked tank and lots of water movement around those rocks, then the filter media is relied upon less to harbor the nitrifying bacteria.

Cleaning the tubes and plastic out is perfectly fine. The problem would have been replacing both filter pads also. (I'm assuming you changed out both filter pads).

would you do a 55%would water change
Sounds about right to start. Do this once per day until levels come down. Then let testing be your guide as to what's needed.

would it be beneficial at all to all to put some of my gravel in the filter?
Not a bad idea, just don't pack it. Make sure water can flow around it easily. It may help to seed the filters more quickly.
 

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A guy at my LFS was explaining to me that if you remove and clean filter media in tap water it is more beneficial for these reasons:
1-You can get them cleaner (thus more efficient filtration) than just using your tank water.
2-Your media will last longer.
3- If you have to replace your media, it will not be a shock to your system as you never allow the bacteria to colonize the media.
I am skeptical because I'm not sure how long it would take for the bacteria to populize and create ammonia. What do you think?
 

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Depends on the media you're cleaning.

If it's just pads and not your real bio media, sure, use tap water.

ie, if you have biomax or matrix, or whatever - then feel free. Your biomax & matrix will contain the super-majority of the good bacteria, the little you lose cleaning your filter won't be enough to worry about.

I'm lucky, my tap water has no chloramines/chlorine because of the whole-house filter so I can rinse all I like (medium/high pressure) and not kill any bacteria.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ok thanks Tim I'll do that and hope all goes well. How do you guys put your quilt batting in your media trays?do you cut like a couple big strips or a ton of little strips to fit into every tray?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well I just added an emperor 400 this week as well and the only media my existing filter holds is two disposable charcoal filters that I usually throw away every couple weeks and replace with new ones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ok I checked my levels this morning after doing a 25% change last night.
pH: 7.6
Ammonia: 0-0.25 the colors are too dang close
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 40
I don't entirely understand why my ammonia and nitrite levels are low but my nitrates are so high.other than water changes is there anything else I could put in the water to help lower my nitrates?
 

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That's really all you can do.
There are other things but they're temporary - and what you need is a water changing regimen to keep your nitrates down.

Measure weekly (before water change) - do 25% or 50% water change and see how your nitrates are the next day.

If the nitrate readings are lower one week to next, good.
If they're going up, you need to do more (frequent or amount) water changes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
What amount would should I be really concerned about as my levels are concerned?I know no amount of ammonia is good but at what number would I need to do water changes daily?
 

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You want to stay below 40ppm Nitrates (if you have fish/etc in it).

Many people like to keep it below 20ppm.

Consider nitrates like second-hand smoke. It's not going to kill you right away but long term exposure can have adverse affects.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Ok thanks Glaneon.After a 50% change her in a little it my levels will hopefully come down more.=)I need to get this mini cycle under control so I can move on with my setup.
 
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