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I have a 20 gallon high tank with an Aqueon Quiet Flow 20 filter. The filter replacement cartridges are pricy and didn't do too great at getting clear water so I am trying my hand at DIY cartridges' where I cut to fit them in the plastic cartridge holder in the filter. In
the flow of water I first have the
Classic Bonded Aquarium Filter Pad by Aquatic Experts and then behind that I have a 100 micron Polishing Filter Pad (soft side first) also by Aquatic Experts. When first put it in it took 2-3 days and my water which was a little cloudy and slightly green became crystal clear. 2 days after that it became cloudy again but not as green. I was also rinsing out the pads about every other day cause they get dirty quick (esp. the polishing pad). Do I need to do something else with filtration or do I have an algae issue? I feel stuck. I cleaned all plants and did a 50% water change the day before I started the new filter pads. Its been a little over a week now and I think I should do another water change? Any advice and help would be greatly appreciated!


Side note: In my tank I have 2 mollies, 2 guppies, 2 platys, 2 zebra danios, 1 fancy goldfish (hes about to move out) and 1 catfish who will be getting a new friend or 2 when the goldfish moves out.
 

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I hate when this type pf stuff happens! I would put all my fish in containers, drain the aquarium, but save a portion of the water for refill, then shovel all my gravel into a bucket. sit for about 3-5 min.. Then refill the aquarium with gravel, scape it, and add décor, put the filters and heater back, place a bowl to dump the water back in the aquarium. Top with required water.
Let the filters run for about 20 minutes before putting the fish back in.. Water should be clear in a few hours.


You might not believe me, but I'm suspecting the problem is with the bacteria.
 

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I hate when this type pf stuff happens! I would put all my fish in containers, drain the aquarium, but save a portion of the water for refill, then shovel all my gravel into a bucket. sit for about 3-5 min.. Then refill the aquarium with gravel, scape it, and add décor, put the filters and heater back, place a bowl to dump the water back in the aquarium. Top with required water.
Let the filters run for about 20 minutes before putting the fish back in.. Water should be clear in a few hours.


You might not believe me, but I'm suspecting the problem is with the bacteria.



I just get nervous to do that much of a water change. Last change I did a 50% change and it was nice and clear but only lasted 2 days.
 

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To me, that looks like a bacteria bloom... whats your water values.

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Just looks like a bacterial Bloom to me as well. Had one a couple weeks ago but took care of it with a UV sterilizer. Another solution is to cut off the lights. Only if you don't have live plants in the aquarium
 

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Just looks like a bacterial Bloom to me as well. Had one a couple weeks ago but took care of it with a UV sterilizer. Another solution is to cut off the lights. Only if you don't have live plants in the aquarium
If it cleared up with a UV light, it sounds a lot more like a algae bloom rather than bacteria... ditto for lights.

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If it cleared up with a UV light, it sounds a lot more like a algae bloom rather than bacteria... ditto for lights.

Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk

Right after I posted this question we lost power for 2 days due to a snow storm. Since the tank sat there for 2 days I had to do a water change last night as soon as power came back. I had to place new pads into the filter since the ones in there sat for so long without good water flow. I did however have a battery operated air pump which I hooked up to an air stone I had and placed the pads over the bubble flow to try to keep in some good bacteria. I also covered the tank with a blanket to keep the tank from loosing too much heat. it dropped from 78 degrees to 70 degrees. I even heated some water on my grill to add some warm water to the tank. Needless to say they all survived and are happy and never showed signs of stress!! So now for the time being I am just keeping an eye on the tank for cloudiness issues and if it does happen again I will be back on here.
 

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I'll share more of what could be considered conversation after an answer to aussieJJDude's question!

I'm also curious about water-test values..
Right after I posted this question we lost power for 2 days due to a snow storm. Since the tank sat there for 2 days I had to do a water change last night as soon as power came back. I had to place new pads into the filter since the ones in there sat for so long without good water flow. I did however have a battery operated air pump which I hooked up to an air stone I had and placed the pads over the bubble flow to try to keep in some good bacteria. I also covered the tank with a blanket to keep the tank from loosing too much heat. it dropped from 78 degrees to 70 degrees. I even heated some water on my grill to add some warm water to the tank. Needless to say they all survived and are happy and never showed signs of stress!! So now for the time being I am just keeping an eye on the tank for cloudiness issues and if it does happen again I will be back on here.
 

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I have a 20 gallon high tank with an Aqueon Quiet Flow 20 filter. The filter replacement cartridges are pricy and didn't do too great at getting clear water so I am trying my hand at DIY cartridges' where I cut to fit them in the plastic cartridge holder in the filter. In
the flow of water I first have the
Classic Bonded Aquarium Filter Pad by Aquatic Experts and then behind that I have a 100 micron Polishing Filter Pad (soft side first) also by Aquatic Experts. When first put it in it took 2-3 days and my water which was a little cloudy and slightly green became crystal clear. 2 days after that it became cloudy again but not as green. I was also rinsing out the pads about every other day cause they get dirty quick (esp. the polishing pad). Do I need to do something else with filtration or do I have an algae issue? I feel stuck. I cleaned all plants and did a 50% water change the day before I started the new filter pads. Its been a little over a week now and I think I should do another water change? Any advice and help would be greatly appreciated!


Side note: In my tank I have 2 mollies, 2 guppies, 2 platys, 2 zebra danios, 1 fancy goldfish (hes about to move out) and 1 catfish who will be getting a new friend or 2 when the goldfish moves out.
your water is cloudy because you have removed all the beneficial bacteria from your filter,

you should NEVER change all of your filter inserts at the same time,

and you should NEVER be rinsing them/cleaning them every day,

you need to do some serious reading about cycling a tank, so you can understand how filters and bacteria work
 

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How am I supposed to put a new filter pad in then? I only have one filter so how do I not change all the filter cartridges at once? Can you tell me what to do instead of what I shouldn’t do? The cleaning out the pads when they are full is what the company told me to do. I don’t change or rinse out my filter pad when I do water changes. So isn’t there still good bacteria? There’s also a piece in the filter that collects good bacteria that I never clean.
 

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I have a 20 gallon high tank with an Aqueon Quiet Flow 20 filter. The filter replacement cartridges are pricy and didn't do too great at getting clear water so I am trying my hand at DIY cartridges' where I cut to fit them in the plastic cartridge holder in the filter. In
the flow of water I first have the
Classic Bonded Aquarium Filter Pad by Aquatic Experts and then behind that I have a 100 micron Polishing Filter Pad (soft side first) also by Aquatic Experts. When first put it in it took 2-3 days and my water which was a little cloudy and slightly green became crystal clear. 2 days after that it became cloudy again but not as green. I was also rinsing out the pads about every other day cause they get dirty quick (esp. the polishing pad). Do I need to do something else with filtration or do I have an algae issue? I feel stuck. I cleaned all plants and did a 50% water change the day before I started the new filter pads. Its been a little over a week now and I think I should do another water change? Any advice and help would be greatly appreciated!


Side note: In my tank I have 2 mollies, 2 guppies, 2 platys, 2 zebra danios, 1 fancy goldfish (hes about to move out) and 1 catfish who will be getting a new friend or 2 when the goldfish moves out.
your water is cloudy because you have removed all the beneficial bacteria from your filter,

you should NEVER change all of your filter inserts at the same time,

and you should NEVER be rinsing them/cleaning them every day,

you need to do some serious reading about cycling a tank, so you can understand how filters and bacteria work

How am I supposed to put a new filter pad in then? I only have one filter so how do I not change all the filter inserts at once? Do I change either just the polishing pad or just the classic bonded pad? Can you please tell me what to do instead of what I shouldn’t do? I’m new to fish keeping. And I do read and try to learn and I ask tons of questions from hobbists and the fish store. The cleaning out the pads when they are full is what the company told me to do but not during water changes. So isn’t there still good bacteria in the water when I do that? There’s also a part in the filter (don’t remember what it’s called) that collects good bacteria that I never clean.
 

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How am I supposed to put a new filter pad in then? I only have one filter so how do I not change all the filter cartridges at once? Can you tell me what to do instead of what I shouldn’t do? The cleaning out the pads when they are full is what the company told me to do. I don’t change or rinse out my filter pad when I do water changes. So isn’t there still good bacteria? There’s also a piece in the filter that collects good bacteria that I never clean.
my suggestion.....

buy yourself a foam insert for an Aquaclear 110/500 filter.....you may need 2

cut that foam so you end up with TWO bricks of foam that fit into your filter stacked one on top of the other,

make sure they are cut so they fit snugly,

when you need to replace them, you only replace ONE at a time, so the other one still has bacteria,

alternate replacing them by at least 4-6 months.....you should only have to replace them about every 1.5 to 2 years....i have some lasting 3-4 years,

if your tank is well taken care of, you should only need to clean them about once every 6-8 weeks,

when you DO clean them, they should be cleaned in old tank water, you should NEVER rinse them under the tap!!

it will take you 1 or 2 months to see the great results in doing this.....but you will be happy with the end result

please note that doing what i have described will require your tank to be cycled again
 

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I’ve never had to replace an aquaclear sponge. Like, ever.
 

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How am I supposed to put a new filter pad in then? I only have one filter so how do I not change all the filter inserts at once? Do I change either just the polishing pad or just the classic bonded pad? Can you please tell me what to do instead of what I shouldn’t do? I’m new to fish keeping. And I do read and try to learn and I ask tons of questions from hobbists and the fish store. The cleaning out the pads when they are full is what the company told me to do but not during water changes. So isn’t there still good bacteria in the water when I do that? There’s also a part in the filter (don’t remember what it’s called) that collects good bacteria that I never clean.


Like was mentioned, aquaclear sponges are great because you can cut them to fit non aquaclear filters.

There is some good bacteria in the water, but that’s only bacteria that’s being transported in search of new colonization spots. There’s not nearly enough in the water to consider it a source of good bacteria, so it should be disregarded. The main source of bacteria is in the filter, as you know. Like was mentioned, you shouldn’t change all the filter media at once for fear of a mini cycle. Difference between a mini cycle and a regular cycle is that the bacteria colonies are already established in a mini cycle, which means it takes considerably less time for things to balance out. A regular cycle means you are waiting for the bacteria colonies to establish themselves, which only happens one at a time. In a mini cycle they both grow together.

Most modern filters include “biomedia”, which is a media dedicated to housing BB (beneficial bacteria), versus straining the water of particulates that mechanical media does (sponges/pads). The idea there is you can change out the mechanical and chemical (activated carbon) media without losing your cycle. Some systems/filters are better than others, for sure, so you want to be aware of that.

Generally speaking, you can remove up to half of your beneficial bacteria colony and still be okay, because they take some 20 hours to double in size, replenishing what was lost. One thing I always recommend is fasting the fish any time you mess with the filter. The last thing you need to do is add to the bioload that the bacteria is trying to catch up to, during that period.

So as was mentioned by the previous poster, by cutting the sponge in 2, you can safely clean, or ever replace one of them without ruining everything. So one change I would make to what they suggested is to start off leaving some of your old filter media in there when you put one of the pieces of sponge in. Then later on, you can replace that last bit of your old filter media with the other half of the sponge. That way, you don’t lose your cycle. Once you’re switched over to the sponges, you’ll be in good shape. I have some that are older than 10 years.....

Yes, there is a threat to cleaning your media in tap water. However, as someone who thoroughly cleans all a filters media (mechanical and biological) in tap water, all at once, I think the threat is blown way out of proportion. I’ve never had a problem doing so, so I feel extremely confident telling you you can clean half of your media in tap water if swishing it around in a bucket of tank water doesn’t get the job done.
 
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Going with above, I clean my filters in tap. I'm extremely lucky to live in an area with extremely low chlorines/chloramines (low enough that I didn't use dechlor for my first couple of years) so for me, washing with tap is fine. Likewise, some people may be on a well system....

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Ah the aquaclear 20.
Those have two pads, correct?
The actual blue media' pad and a flimsy little black foam insert.
The black foam is the biological media, it should be rinsed in old tank water, and don't replace both at the same time when the sponge finally does give up. The blue, bigger one is the one that gets replaced. HOB filters are rough.


If it cleared up with a UV light, it sounds a lot more like a algae bloom rather than bacteria... ditto for lights.

Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk
UV will eliminate all living organisms small enough to pass through the filter. Algae bacteria, multicelled organisms..

your water is cloudy because you have removed all the beneficial bacteria from your filter,

you should NEVER change all of your filter inserts at the same time,

and you should NEVER be rinsing them/cleaning them every day,

you need to do some serious reading about cycling a tank, so you can understand how filters and bacteria work
Water polishing style filter pads do get dirty fast. I'd also recommend adding some sort of biomedia. Algae and bacteria thrive when there's excess food. There's for them to eat. I would add a zeolite product to your filter (like ammo-lock). Two small media bags, placed somewhere with water flow.I've started using zeolite because once it gets full, it doesn't release the ammonia it's absorbed back into the tank- but it does facilitate beneficial bacteria growth on the media. I've come to think of it as a biological media with temporary chemical media qualities.

my suggestion.....

buy yourself a foam insert for an Aquaclear 110/500 filter.....you may need 2

cut that foam so you end up with TWO bricks of foam that fit into your filter stacked one on top of the other,

make sure they are cut so they fit snugly,

when you need to replace them, you only replace ONE at a time, so the other one still has bacteria,

alternate replacing them by at least 4-6 months.....you should only have to replace them about every 1.5 to 2 years....i have some lasting 3-4 years,

if your tank is well taken care of, you should only need to clean them about once every 6-8 weeks,

when you DO clean them, they should be cleaned in old tank water, you should NEVER rinse them under the tap!!

it will take you 1 or 2 months to see the great results in doing this.....but you will be happy with the end result

please note that doing what i have described will require your tank to be cycled again
Foam is a good idea. The tank I set up this weekend was:
-> Water flow ->
Course sponge-> biological media(ceramic rings, white pumice, or legos)->zeolite and carbon mixed->seachem purigen->water polishing pad.

Purigen is sold in a little pad that should fit in your tank. It may not clear your water overnight, but if it's an alive organism like algae or bacteria, purigen does a good job of starving it.

It could also be dust or just a mechanical particulate. Did you rinse the media really well when you replaced it? Have you changed the substrate or have you stirred it up recently?
What's your fish tank smell like?

Biological activity does reduce cloudiness, but I think there are a lot of factors at play, scientifically. Some bacteria produce natural flocculating agents, for example.

Like was mentioned, aquaclear sponges are great because you can cut them to fit non aquaclear filters.

There is some good bacteria in the water, but that’s only bacteria that’s being transported in search of new colonization spots. There’s not nearly enough in the water to consider it a source of good bacteria, so it should be disregarded. The main source of bacteria is in the filter, as you know. Like was mentioned, you shouldn’t change all the filter media at once for fear of a mini cycle. Difference between a mini cycle and a regular cycle is that the bacteria colonies are already established in a mini cycle, which means it takes considerably less time for things to balance out. A regular cycle means you are waiting for the bacteria colonies to establish themselves, which only happens one at a time. In a mini cycle they both grow together.

Most modern filters include “biomedia”, which is a media dedicated to housing BB (beneficial bacteria), versus straining the water of particulates that mechanical media does (sponges/pads). The idea there is you can change out the mechanical and chemical (activated carbon) media without losing your cycle. Some systems/filters are better than others, for sure, so you want to be aware of that.

Generally speaking, you can remove up to half of your beneficial bacteria colony and still be okay, because they take some 20 hours to double in size, replenishing what was lost. One thing I always recommend is fasting the fish any time you mess with the filter. The last thing you need to do is add to the bioload that the bacteria is trying to catch up to, during that period.

So as was mentioned by the previous poster, by cutting the sponge in 2, you can safely clean, or ever replace one of them without ruining everything. So one change I would make to what they suggested is to start off leaving some of your old filter media in there when you put one of the pieces of sponge in. Then later on, you can replace that last bit of your old filter media with the other half of the sponge. That way, you don’t lose your cycle. Once you’re switched over to the sponges, you’ll be in good shape. I have some that are older than 10 years.....

Yes, there is a threat to cleaning your media in tap water. However, as someone who thoroughly cleans all a filters media (mechanical and biological) in tap water, all at once, I think the threat is blown way out of proportion. I’ve never had a problem doing so, so I feel extremely confident telling you you can clean half of your media in tap water if swishing it around in a bucket of tank water doesn’t get the job done.
Yep.
Sponges can be rinsed in old tank water. You are doing water changes, right? It's a great time to do it.
Sponges do eventually wear out, but it may take years. Ceramic rings and the like never wear out. Just rinse in old tank water and put back in.

Going with above, I clean my filters in tap. I'm extremely lucky to live in an area with extremely low chlorines/chloramines (low enough that I didn't use dechlor for my first couple of years) so for me, washing with tap is fine. Likewise, some people may be on a well system....

Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk
Here is one of the reasons forums like this are so successful, yet so many people are unsuccessful with fish keeping. There are many things that, by pure happenstance, work for them- their water is low in chlorines, or their water is very soft and acidic- which makes ammonia less harmful- or they have a unique chemistry to their tank- but that would still be considered poor advice. In most people's tanks, rinsing biological media in tap water nearly guarantees that you're going to have a mini cycle, and some quantity of ammonia poisoning.
 

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If it cleared up with a UV light, it sounds a lot more like a algae bloom rather than bacteria... ditto for lights.

Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk
UV will eliminate all living organisms small enough to pass through the filter. Algae bacteria, multicelled organisms..

your water is cloudy because you have removed all the beneficial bacteria from your filter,

you should NEVER change all of your filter inserts at the same time,

and you should NEVER be rinsing them/cleaning them every day,

you need to do some serious reading about cycling a tank, so you can understand how filters and bacteria work
Water polishing style filter pads do get dirty fast. I'd also recommend adding some sort of biomedia. Algae and bacteria thrive when there's excess food. There's for them to eat. I would add a zeolite product to your filter (like ammo-lock). Two small media bags, placed somewhere with water flow.I've started using zeolite because once it gets full, it doesn't release the ammonia it's absorbed back into the tank- but it does facilitate beneficial bacteria growth on the media. I've come to think of it as a biological media with temporary chemical media qualities.

my suggestion.....

buy yourself a foam insert for an Aquaclear 110/500 filter.....you may need 2

cut that foam so you end up with TWO bricks of foam that fit into your filter stacked one on top of the other,

make sure they are cut so they fit snugly,

when you need to replace them, you only replace ONE at a time, so the other one still has bacteria,

alternate replacing them by at least 4-6 months.....you should only have to replace them about every 1.5 to 2 years....i have some lasting 3-4 years,

if your tank is well taken care of, you should only need to clean them about once every 6-8 weeks,

when you DO clean them, they should be cleaned in old tank water, you should NEVER rinse them under the tap!!

it will take you 1 or 2 months to see the great results in doing this.....but you will be happy with the end result

please note that doing what i have described will require your tank to be cycled again
Foam is a good idea. The tank I set up this weekend was:
-> Water flow ->
Course sponge-> biological media(ceramic rings, white pumice, or legos)->zeolite and carbon mixed->seachem purigen->water polishing pad.

Biological activity does reduce cloudiness, but I think there are a lot of factors at play, scientifically. Some bacteria produce natural flocculating agents, for example.

Like was mentioned, aquaclear sponges are great because you can cut them to fit non aquaclear filters.

There is some good bacteria in the water, but that’s only bacteria that’s being transported in search of new colonization spots. There’s not nearly enough in the water to consider it a source of good bacteria, so it should be disregarded. The main source of bacteria is in the filter, as you know. Like was mentioned, you shouldn’t change all the filter media at once for fear of a mini cycle. Difference between a mini cycle and a regular cycle is that the bacteria colonies are already established in a mini cycle, which means it takes considerably less time for things to balance out. A regular cycle means you are waiting for the bacteria colonies to establish themselves, which only happens one at a time. In a mini cycle they both grow together.

Most modern filters include “biomedia”, which is a media dedicated to housing BB (beneficial bacteria), versus straining the water of particulates that mechanical media does (sponges/pads). The idea there is you can change out the mechanical and chemical (activated carbon) media without losing your cycle. Some systems/filters are better than others, for sure, so you want to be aware of that.

Generally speaking, you can remove up to half of your beneficial bacteria colony and still be okay, because they take some 20 hours to double in size, replenishing what was lost. One thing I always recommend is fasting the fish any time you mess with the filter. The last thing you need to do is add to the bioload that the bacteria is trying to catch up to, during that period.

So as was mentioned by the previous poster, by cutting the sponge in 2, you can safely clean, or ever replace one of them without ruining everything. So one change I would make to what they suggested is to start off leaving some of your old filter media in there when you put one of the pieces of sponge in. Then later on, you can replace that last bit of your old filter media with the other half of the sponge. That way, you don’t lose your cycle. Once you’re switched over to the sponges, you’ll be in good shape. I have some that are older than 10 years.....

Yes, there is a threat to cleaning your media in tap water. However, as someone who thoroughly cleans all a filters media (mechanical and biological) in tap water, all at once, I think the threat is blown way out of proportion. I’ve never had a problem doing so, so I feel extremely confident telling you you can clean half of your media in tap water if swishing it around in a bucket of tank water doesn’t get the job done.
Yep.
Sponges can be rinsed in old tank water. You are doing water changes, right? It's a great time to do it.
Sponges do eventually wear out, but it may take years. Ceramic rings and the like never wear out. Just rinse in old tank water and put back in.

Going with above, I clean my filters in tap. I'm extremely lucky to live in an area with extremely low chlorines/chloramines (low enough that I didn't use dechlor for my first couple of years) so for me, washing with tap is fine. Likewise, some people may be on a well system....

Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk
Here is one of the reasons forums like this are so successful, yet so many people are unsuccessful with fish keeping. There are many things that, by pure happenstance, work for them- their water is low in chlorines, or their water is very soft and acidic- which makes ammonia less harmful- or they have a unique chemistry to their tank- but that would still be considered poor advice. In most people's tanks, rinsing biological media in tap water nearly guarantees that you're going to have a mini cycle, and some quantity of ammonia poisoning.
 

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The tank I set up this weekend was:
-> Water flow ->
Course sponge-> biological media(ceramic rings, white pumice, or legos)->zeolite and carbon mixed->seachem purigen->water polishing pad.
i don't see why even half of that stuff is nessessary....call me old school if you want to

all i have been using in my filters for the past 15 years is FOAM.....thats it....nothing else.....my tanks are always healthy and clear
 

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Yup lots of people use only sponge/foam. I agree that’s the only thing that’s necessary. That being said, my filters have more than just sponge. Stage one is fuval prefilter ceramics, stage two is sponge, stage 3 is biomax. I have canisters. While the sponge is all I really need, I have found my filters to perform best with that configuration.

I’m not a fan of using ammonia reducing media’s like zeolite, but I think they have their place in certain short term situations.

There are a lot of people who swear by purigen. I think there are a lot more people who will never use it cause they don’t need it. I think it’s a good product for solving water clarity problems that standard methods can’t get control of. Same goes for the water polishing pad.
 
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