08-04-2009, 11:10 AM
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Rinse the filter media regularly; and how often is "regular" depends upon the bioload in the aquarium. The water has to be able to easily pass through the media; if it cannot, then the filter is "clogged' and should be rinsed. The media need not be replaced until it literally falls apart and will no longer perform its function of trapping particulate matter and supporting a colony of bacteria.
The media should be rinsed in water from the aquarium or declorinated tap water if the aquarium is small or relatively new. In an established planted aquarium (5+ months) that is larger (over say 30g size) this is unnecessary because there is far more bacteria on the tank walls, in the substrate and on the plant leaves than could ever exist in the filter media. Under good conditions, the filter is only removing particulate matter from the water; the biological filtering provided by the filter is of less importance to that occurring in the substrate, on the surfaces and through plants.
The benefit of a planted aquarium (aside from appearance) is that the major job of filtration is carried out by the plants; mechanical filters are secondary but required to handle particulate matter and to ensure water flow (although there are many who discount this as a necessity since there will always be sufficient water movement through the actions of fish, heat stratification, and so forth).
Last edited by Byron; 08-04-2009 at 11:12 AM..