So I'm about to do a water change on my 5 gallon tank and I'm wondering when I should change the filter cartridge. I have read that the cartridge that is in there now has the good bacteria in it, and starting over with a new one will be like taking everything out of the tank and not only cleaning all of the bad bacteria out of the gravel but also the good bacteria. What should I do because I have had this one filter cartridge in there for a while?
personly i never change filter cartriges/sponges unless they are falling apart, why get rid of the bacteria you have worked so hard to get lol im not saying never change it but for the most part a good swill/rinse in the tank water you take out on a water change will do the trick.
+1 for Phil.
Just swish the media in old tank water, and stick it back in the filter until it falls apart. The only reason you really need the new one, is for the activated carbon to take meds out. The carbon only lasts about 2 weeks.
Wow! I wish I had read this yesterday before I hit Petsmart LOL. I just bought a twelvepack of replacement cartridges.
So, since I have never used meds or any other type of water additive, I shouldn't worry about replacing filter cartridges until they are in really bad shape? And in fact I am better off just rinsing the cartridges periodically?
I know nothing about filters. I was going by the company recommendation of replacing the cartridges every couple weeks as the little plastic red thing says to. I only got filters for my bettas' tanks cause it just seems that they must be good. Plus LG loves playing in his filter current LOL.
No need to put new ones in, unless they're falling apart.
Next time, if you don't need to take meds out, just get some poly-fiber at Walmart or something, and use that.
Well it'll be a while Dk. I'm set for cartridges for the next couple years, I think LOL.
Same here. The guy in PetSmart sold me a pack of filter replacements. I have the kind of filter that slips out and you slip a new one in. My Filters are not that big.
If you replace all of the filter elements at one time, you will stall the nitrogen cycle. The cycle is basically three colonies of different beneficial bacteria living in the filter elements and substrate. It all works like this:
So glad I had a look at this before heading to the local pet store and buying a load more cartridges. I'm doing a 25% water change every few days atm as I have a poorly fighter
My water has been bad and I am only doing a water change once every Friday. Do I need to be changing it every other day???
20% water change every other day is what I was told but do not clean the filter on the same day try and do that once every few weeks that's if it needs it
Here is how to find and fix a water quality issue:
Since most of the nitrogen cycle bacteria live in the filter elements and substrate, changing all the filter elements will stall the nitrogen cycle.
Thank you! My water has been so bad and I have been calling petsmart and every thing!! I have a 5 gallon top fin fish tank with 1 frog, 2 glow fish, a snail, and a fish that eats Stuff!
But it seems my ammonia is still REALLY high and I have been changing my water once every week and I have been putting Prime! But it does not to be working and I have now started to change my water out twice a week! I talked to a lady at petsmart and she said not to change it for at least two weeks should I be doing that or not???? I need help!!!
And I have had at least 5 glow fish die! but I only have two in there now and they are doing fantastic !!
Your Prime only works for 24 to 48 hours at a time. Petsmart lady is not worth talking to. What is your ammonia, nitrite, nitrate reading? You need to be doing daily x2 water changes a day appx 25% to reduce the toxins. Tell us your parameters so we can help. This should be done immediately. If no numbers tell us that as well. Joni
And your tank had too many fish in it so once we get thru this dont add more okay? Read NITROGEN CYCLE FOR BEGINNERS in the search bar and change out 25% of your water and dose the Prime for the new water. Get some readings as you may need to do this a few more times today. Hope I am helping you here. Keep us posted.
I am going to petsmart right now to get my water tested I will tell you the levels after I'm done!
I got my water tested and they said it is in the SAFE zone and she said my PH was high so I got some Aquarium Salt because I live on well water! So yah it seems I am doing every thing right now???
Dont put the salt in. Please tell me you didnt put the salt in. Joni
I did! what will happen when i put the salt in????
what will it do???
How is your snail doing?
ummm well when we go back to petsmart then we are going to take him back!! he is not doing anything!!!!
he is sitting there and i don't think he has eaten at all!!
how do i know if he has died??? he is a little out of his shell!
Welllllll, the only way I know is to pick him up. Does he close up? And if he is dead you want him right out of the tank. So, the other way is a sniff test, a dead snail stinks horrendously per another members blog (thnx Goldibug). You MUST quit listening to Petsmart please. They have steered you wrong from the beginning. I dont know how much salt you added.... I am praying for the snail. Plus, as a rule your aquatic friends do adjust to the ph and any significant drop is only temporary and if done to quickly can kill all your fish due to the fluctuations. If your snail is alive do a water change of about 30% use your Prime. And we need numbers from the water test not safe zone. Let us know how it is going ok?
She never gave me the numbers she just said that is is in the safe zone!
When I got my net out just to see if he was alive he closed his door and it does not stink!
Do you think the salt will kill my fish?? And you are saying I need to do a 30% water change??
I put in 1/2 tbsp. of salt
Salt is no good for snails, my tank ph is high at 8, a steady ph is better than one that fluctuates for the fish. The problems you have with your water are due to stocking levels, the biological filter in your tank cannot eat the ammonia produced by the high numbers of fish, I have a tank of about the size of yours and use it only for fry and shrimp, I would advise re homing as you will ultimately be fighting a losing battle.
I had my numbers checked one time at PetSmart awhile back when I ran out of strips and waiting for some to come in the mail. (And yes, for those of you reading this- I know 'strips are bad', LOL, but I've used them from the beginning and they are working for me!) Anyway, they gave me a sheet with the numbers filled in. It actually was pretty nice- it had a paragraph explaining what each parameter was and what the numbers meant. So next time you have your water checked there, ask them to write it all down for you!
Sounds like your snail is still alive. You probably didn't add enough salt to hurt him. Just be sure to keep doing the PWC's because the salt won't be lost to juts evaportation. As water evaporates, the salt content will increase. But each time you do the PWC, with fresh, unsalted water, you dilute the salt content.
And to answer your other question, no, the amount of salt you put in should not kill your other fish. (I have read in several places that most fish can tolerate up to 1 tbsp. per 5 gallons- but that should only be used in situations such as treating Ich.)
As for the pH issue, mine runs high, too. 8.0+, always. I would urge you to do some research on this online, as well as searching here (Just type 'high pH' into the search box). It seems it's actually harder to lower pH than it is to raise pH. You will find out that most types of fish will adapt to whatever pH your water is and that maintaining a steady pH is more important than worry about lowering it. I tried at first to use pH down, before I knew any better, then learned that these types of things only lower it temporarily and the fluctuations in pH are worse for your fish than a steady, higher pH.
So basically, I wouldn't fret over the pH. And don't put any more salt in the tank. Freshwater tanks don't need it and it's really only called for in certain cases where you're treating a condition, but not in yours.
I don't think it's bad to listen to the people at PetSmart, as long as you get on here and verify what they are telling you before you actually implement their advice. It depends on the worker- I have found some very knowledgable people in the aquarium section of my PetSmart, but then some of them seem to know less than I do. So I always double check any advice I've given before taking it to heart.
Thank you for help! I will get more info the next time I visit Pet smart.
@yooperlover.. this person from day 1 has been ill advised by her friendly local Petsmart.
Thanks for jumping in Paul88, she is working very hard to correct this.
Liv , you are doing a great job, none of this is your fault. Go to www.aqadvisor.com put in your tank size, your filter and your aqua pets. It will give you important info. No worries here okay! On the use of salt, epsom or aquarium, they are numerous fish and freshwater aquatic creatures that cannot withstand the use of salt. The people on here can help you research things before you act. Some remedies are more harmful than good. Pure clean wonderful tank water.... thats what your pets need. Keep us posted!
@Newfishmom- Yes, it does sound like her local PetSmart hasn't done too well by her. I agree about that. I was talking in general about receiving advice and always double checking it. (Wherever it comes from.)
And yes, I agree, Liv, you haven't done anything wrong here! I should've stresed that more, myself. You were doing what they told you, but now you are in a good place here and we can help you through this.
As for salt, just an FYI in reference to the topic, the basic fish that cannot tolerate salt are those without scales, such as your inverts, loaches, coreys, etc...the fish you have should not have a problem with the amount of salt you put in. So I wouldn't worry. And like I said, you put a rather small amount in, so even your snail appears to have come through it unscathed. Just keep up with the PWC's and eventually the salt will become more and more diluted. And don't add any more salt. (But I think you've figured that out by now, LOL. )
So, I think we've gotten off track a bit. Reading back to the beginning, it appears that the tank hasn't been cycled properly. That needs to be completed before worrying about any other issues. So for PetSmart to just say all the parameters are 'good' leaves me wondering...
If you could get PetSmart to write the numbers down for you next time, Liv, that would help. We need to know where you are in terms of your cycle.
That would be step 1 here. I have to say that is my pet peeve of PetSmart and any other store that sells fish, is not explaining the Nitrogen Cycle to new fish owners, since that really is Step 1. My own PetSmart seems to employ people that are fairly knowledgable about fish, but I have to say that none of them asked me about my tank and it's conditions prior to sending me out with one in a bag.
Keep us posted, Liv!