A typical filter cartridge for an over top aquarium filter will last you for about one month; with the following instructions you may extend that to 3 months or a season -at the most.
You will need the following supplies: Two buckets 3 to 5 gallons, a toothbrush, and aquarium water.
Two Reasons to Clean Filter Cartridges
Number one is that the fish are dying in the tank and you do not know the cause. It could be that there are too many toxins in the water due to your filtration materials being filthy, and the carbon maybe already used up.
Two is that the water looks bad; it’s dirty or white, the filtration materials may be overloaded with debris and unable to function properly.
Steps to Clean You Filter cartridges
- 1. Safely Unplug– So what you do now is you unplug the power filter’s cord from your outlet or your surge protector. Warning: never unplug the entire surge protector for your entire aquarium while it is running, it may burn out your power filters. I’ve tried it, and that is exactly what happened to me.
- 2. Remove from Aquarium– After you have unplugged your power filter, remove it from the aquarium. Empty out the water in the filter, and take out your filtration cartridges,
- 3. Rinse and Brush– Make sure you have a 3-5 gallon bucket of aquarium water to clean it with. You need a toothbrush, and a second bucket to clean your filter cartridge with. Understand that the filter cartridge is full of beneficial bacterium that cleans your aquarium water.
Never put chlorinated water on your filtration materials for it will kill the good bacteria.
So now you will rinse the spongy material on the cartridge with the aquarium water, while brushing it with the toothbrush to remove all the grime and guck. Once you’ve rinsed it for a few minutes and brushed off all the garbage it will be clean.
- 4. Add Brand New Carbon– (if you Have Whisper Cartridges) I know on the Whisper cartridges you can reuse the sponge and refill it with your own carbon materials, you may do that now.
- 5. Place the Clean Cartridges Back into the Power Filter and Make a Small Water Change– Once your cartridges are clean place them back into the filter, and fill up the power filter with aquarium water until it spills out. Now you may plug in the power chords into your outlet or surge protector.
After every filter cleaning and replacement be sure to remove a percentage of aquarium water. You will remove 25% of the aquarium water and replace it with tap water with a de-chlorinator added. (Follow the instructions on the de-chlorinator for proper dosage.) This change helps eliminate some of the toxins present in the water.