12-27-2007, 01:09 AM
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I ditto f4a's sentiments on carbon. It is just a real pain. Again, like f4a, I only use it to filter out meds. I most generally use no substrate-like material. In lieu of this type of media, I use bio-balls or bio-stars. I also may use a woven filter media to help trap debris, ei., filter floss. Although, I may lose some active bio-bed bacteria when changing the floss, the other filters make up the difference and allow for quick recovery. Secondly, I NEVER change or work on the complete filter system at once, only individual components. Example, week one, the power filters, week two, the power heads and their prefilters including gravel sweep, week three, the internal power filters, week four, the canister filters. By following this regimen, the other biofilters take up the slack while the clean system has time to regenerate.