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On my tanks that run a HOB I rinse the media in the old/dirty tank water every week during my normal water changes. I don't replace the filter pad until/unless it's falling apart, though. There is a lot of beneficial bacteria that can colonize in your filter. If you're removing it every week, it can be difficult for the bb to colonize, and you *might* have a less stable tank as a result. I've actually replaced the brand filter pads with foam aquarium sponges. They do the required job nicely and last forever. Since I never have to change out my media, the bacteria is allowed to grow and thrive. :)
 

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Agree - good point AD, I may not have been very clear with my "*might*."

Each tank is a unique environment, to an extent, and how you treat your filter is a big part of that. Stocking, substrate, decor, presence of live plants, how you do your cleanings, and much more - all play a role in the overall health of the tank and the BB that keeps it going.

It is absolutley possible to have enough BB contained within the tank itself so that you don't need to worry about the filter at all. . . in this example, the filter pad has been changed weekly, so my assumption is that there is not enough BB on the pad to be of much use to the tank at this point. You CAN continue to do things this way, there isn't anything wrong with your method (though the expense in filter pads is going to get astronomical over time). Unless you're having a problem with flux in your parameters and seeing 'mini cycles' (the presence of ammonia, nitrites), it is safe to assume that there currently IS enough BB inside of your tank to carry the bioload of the fish with ease.

I'd only recommend that you be aware of said bacteria while doing your routine maintenance, as cleaning the tank too aggressively (or more than your norm, assuming everything is going well) could possibly cause trouble were the BB to be disturbed. This holds true for all tanks, though - regardless of filter pads!

There's a balance to be found in every tank - if you've have that already, then there is no need to make any changes!
 
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