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Replacing filter bits/cleaning it

(14 Posts)
MyFirstName Sun 30-Nov-14 18:26:23

We have an Askoll tank - which has suggests a monthly maintenance schedule. The tank came with a kit for the first month's maintainance (which is approaching) here which are quite pricy.

Am happy to pay if that is what is required. But also want to ask what is actually necessary so I am not using "kit" unnecessarily - or buying branded stuff when actually I could get bog-standard stuff for 1/4 of the price. I also do not want to be doing unnecessary/over cleaning our tank so that I upset the bacterial balance/water quality unnecessarily. The booklet that cam with the tank is not hugely useful imho.

So
1) How often should I be doing bigger cleany bits? (not weekly water changes/glass-algae scrubbing)
2) What should these bigger bits include?
3) Do I need to change the sponge once a month or just wash it in tank water? The monthly kit contains a 1 filtration sponge (mechanical and biological). Is this important to change or are they just trying to sell more?
4) Do I need to change the "active carbon sponge for mechanical, biological and adsorbing filtration" - I think this is the cloth bag of black gritty stuff
5) Do I need to change the ceramic balls? Wash them? There is nothing in the monthly kit for these - so do I just ignore them/leave them alone?
6) Finally are there points when I need to pull out the entire filter/heater column and give it a good clean/scrub? Is this a monthly one or only when "x" happens (if so what is x? Cloudy water? Something else?

Sorry for the huge list of questions. After our questionable start I don't want to cock anything else up!

Thank you!

MyFirstName Mon 01-Dec-14 20:16:18

Bumping please?

marne2 Fri 12-Dec-14 21:48:02

I do a water change once a week ( around 20-30% ), I do this using a gravel vacuum.

Every few weeks I give the ornaments and plastic plants a good scrub.

Once a month I was the sponges out in tap water, you only need to replace the sponges when they look manky after being rinsed out ( maybe once every 6 months ).

Carbon, you don't actually need this, it's used to make your water clearer but not really beneficial to the fish, I don't bother replacing it.

The pellet things in your filter can be rinsed off when you do the sponges, you can replace them every so often ( again, every 6 months or so ).

Never give your filter a big clean out or it will kill any good bacteria and your tank will end up needing to be cycled again ( which will probably kill your fish ).

EauLittleRougeofBethlehem Fri 12-Dec-14 22:10:49

Oh bugger, I hadn't seen this, sorry.

What Marne said. The aim is for water to be able to flow through the sponges easily. They don't have to be sparkling clean, just free from big bits of crap. I did my big filter once a month when I had my big tank, but my small filter needs cleaning once a fortnight.

I've never bothered with carbon but it's good to have some handy in case you need to remove pollutants or medication from the water.

if you do replace any filter media, do it gradually rather than all at once, otherwise you'll lose too much of the good bacteria in one go.

TodaysFishIsTroutALaCreme Sat 13-Dec-14 15:29:21

Agree with PP apart from the bit where marne says to wash the filters in tap water.

Please don't do this. Wash them out in a bucket of tank water as the tap water will destroy the beneficial bacteria in them.

TodaysFishIsTroutALaCreme Sat 13-Dec-14 15:29:56

*disclaimer - I am a newbie so could be talking out of my arse grin

EauLittleRougeofBethlehem Sat 13-Dec-14 15:38:20

Urk, I didn't spot that! Well spotted! Yes, never use tap water to clean your filter media. Although tbf, sometimes I type 'tap water' when I was actually thinking 'tank water'. I have the same problem with several other fish-related words which has led me to ask if somebody's pimp was functioning properly.

marne2 Sat 13-Dec-14 16:30:33

I didn't say I washed them in tap water did I? shock, I never wash my sponges in tap water, always rinse in tank water ( must have been a typo if that's what I said ), I do wash the filter casing in tap water once emptied, I do this once every couple of months.

TodaysFishIsTroutALaCreme Sat 13-Dec-14 17:37:07

Am so so glad I didn't look like an arse!! grin

EauLittleRougeofBethlehem Sat 13-Dec-14 17:58:30

It's OK, I don't think anyone has been flamed in Fishnet so far grin

marne2 Sat 13-Dec-14 18:04:10

grin, Eau knows I wouldn't use tap water as she gave may loads of advice when I first started out ( I have learnt from the best ).

EauLittleRougeofBethlehem Sat 13-Dec-14 18:16:25

Really, who did you learn from? grin

AngelDreams Wed 07-Jan-15 08:30:04

We clean our filter in tap water, sponges as well, but then give.them a good squeeze dunking thorough soaking through tank water

Seems to be ok, but am now a bit concerned

EauRouge Wed 07-Jan-15 11:00:47

Angel, if you test your water for ammonia, nitrIte and nitrAte then that will give you more information. But using tap water on filter sponges will kill off all the good bacteria.

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