Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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AmyK 03-17-2009 09:32 AM

Bio Wheel questions
I returned my leaking Top Fin 5 gallon for a 5 gallon corner Marineland Eclipse. So far I am very pleased with it. It came with a Bio Wheel filter with a carbon insert. I don't know much about these types of filters - does anyone have any tips? I have never had a filter with carbon in it; how often do you replace the insert? I have started using Stabity to cycle the tank and have noticed some yucky brown on the top part of the carbon filter (where the blue pad is). Does this mean I am starting to get beneficil bacteria growing? THANKS!

JohnnyD44 03-17-2009 10:00 AM

I have a Marineland Bio-Wheel on my current 20G and I'm going to be putting two on my 55G i'm setting up within the next two weeks.

Are you doing a fish-filled cycle? If so, the brown stuff on your blue pad is waste and extra food. All the benefical stuff grows on the bio-wheel itself. So when your bio-wheel starts to look ugly, thats a good thing.

As far as a carbon insert, usually carbon is mostly used after you medicate a tank or something like that. I just have the two blue pads in my cartridge spots and then my bio-wheel.

You NEVER want to remove the acutal bio-wheel. That is where all of the good bacteria is going to be housed. As far as replacing the blue pads. If differs depending on who you talk to. What I do with mine is the following:

I will generally run 2 pads...during my water changes....(which are done weekly) every two weeks I will remove the pad closest to the biowheel itself, and throw it out. I will then take the filter closest to the back of the tank and move it to that front spot. I then use some of the water I removed during the water change and take the new pad, swish it around and then put in the empty slot.

This has worked well for me. I'm sure there are people who will tell you something different, or may have a different way of doing things, which is great, the more info the better. I'm just saying this is how i do it.

Good luck!!!

1077 03-17-2009 10:11 AM

Always in my view, good idea not to replace all the cartridges at once. the reason for this is.. as carbon becomes less effective at removing dissolved organics and particles from the water it becomes home for bacteria to gather on. When cycling a tank it is best not to disturb the cartridges for that reason. IF the cartridges become clogged to the point that it hampers the flow of water back into the aquarium then you simply swish them around in old aquarium water that you take out during regular water changes and then stick em back in. As mentioned you never want to clean the bio- wheel 's. And never clean the cartridges with anything but old aquarium water or dechlorinated water. No tap water or soaps for they will destroy the bacteria and quite possibly the fish as well.

AmyK 03-17-2009 10:47 AM

Ok great thanks! And I am doing a fishless cycle with ammonia...

catfishtabbi 03-17-2009 03:00 PM

Just a note: OLD carbon brakes down and will release phosphorus and any chemicals or toxins it has absorbed.

1077 03-18-2009 04:32 AM

Carbon ,even old carbon, Cannot and does not release that which it has absorbed without being subjected to EXTREME temperatures that cannot be produced in the aquarium. It is an often repeated myth.
There are however some chemical media that can release what they have absorbed if salt is introduced such as one might do when treating for parasites, bloat, dropsy or by the regular addition of salt as some form of tonic(never understood it).
Sure ,,the filter material when clogged from lack of proper maint of same, can allow crap back into the tank but the carbon itself,, cannot.

Tyyrlym 03-18-2009 08:53 AM

The crud accumulating on the filter pad is either gunk removed from the water or algae growth.

If you want to run carbon then change the filter cartridge every 2 to 4 weeks as recommended. I however have plants and the carbon would suck up the ferts, so I modified my filter cartridge to remove the carbon:

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