Originally Posted by molliefan09
thank you.....i dont understand the hole sponge thing....i have the hang-on the back kind....do i just take out the carbon and put in a sponge?!?!? sorry if these sound like silly questions...im still learning and just dont wanna mess anything up....
You mentioned upgrading to another filter earlier, hence my recommendation. For your existing filter, it is fine, the pad(s) are the important parts as they filter particulate matter from the water as it passes through them (they "clear" the water). With plants, I would remove the carbon thing; it isn't needed with plants (they do the filtering better) and it may be removing nutrients. Plus you have to keep replacing the carbon (it wears out within a few weeks or sooner, depending...) which gets expensive for no reason.
A sponge acts exactly the same as the pad in your filter, but a single sponge filter inside the tank is a bit easier that a filter hanging on the back. But the principles are identical. Both the pad in your filter and the sponge also act as media for the colonization of bacteria. Although in a planted tank this is unnecessary, so the water "clearing" job of both is the more important. A simple sponge is usually less expensive to buy new.
And no question is silly when you're learning. Reminds me of a story I once heard: a boy was riding in the car with his father, and asked "how tall is that building?" The father said, "I don't know." The boy then asked, "How long is that bridge?" "I don't know" answered his father. After a few more questons with the same response from his father, the boy asked, "You don't mind me asking you these quesitions, do you dad?" "Of course not," replied his father; "how else are you going to learn anything."
I hope the answers you get from all of us here will be more beneficial.