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Media Cleaning

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17 Mar 2012
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1,499
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Dorset
When I has a 50 gallon tank many years ago I always used to draw off a bucket of tank water in which to flush out the media at filter cleaning time. Having read on here some time ago that unless you’re unlucky to have high levels of chlorine in your tap water it’s fine for filter cleaning so that’s what I’ve been doing. I’m wondering though what other folks on here do? I’m now thinking about putting some tap water in a 5 litre bottle with the top off and leaving it for a few days to be on the safe side.
 

Sammy Islam

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12 Mar 2019
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Hertfordshire
When I has a 50 gallon tank many years ago I always used to draw off a bucket of tank water in which to flush out the media at filter cleaning time. Having read on here some time ago that unless you’re unlucky to have high levels of chlorine in your tap water it’s fine for filter cleaning so that’s what I’ve been doing. I’m wondering though what other folks on here do? I’m now thinking about putting some tap water in a 5 litre bottle with the top off and leaving it for a few days to be on the safe side.
You could do that and let it gas off. Personally i fill up a bucket and put in 0.5-1ml of prime and do what i need to.

On the other hand i've read posts on here where people say they just clean everything under the tap and have no problems so who knows 😉
 

SRP3006

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18 Feb 2019
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I wash everything under the tap. Sponges, media, media trays the lot. Never noticed any adverse effects on livestock.
 

Kalum

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As I use a python these days and can't use straight tank water I always wash filter media in a 12l bucket of tap water with prime

For the sake of 0.3ml of prime its not worth the risk (even if low) of ruining a stable filter and bacteria for a couple of minutes saved by running under the tap
 

dean

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6 Apr 2012
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Warrington, Cheshire
Perhaps as we mostly have heavily planted tanks the plants suck up the ammonia etc until the filter recovers

Or are your filters just mechanical and the flow is what keeps everything healthy ?

There’s plenty of no filter write ups but some use a pump to get a flow

I suppose the only real way to test the theory is to wash out the media on a fish only system


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Wookii

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13 Nov 2019
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Surprised to see so many folks advocating washing filter media in tap water. Is the consensus then that there is insufficient chlorine in the tap water to affect the bacterial population, or that a bacterial population in the filter isn't required in a heavily planted tank? If the latter, why bother with biological filter media, we may have well use the filter with sponge purely for mechanical filtration purposes only?
 

Siege

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I think the bacteria that lives in the media is more resistant than people give them credit.

Might be very different in a overly stocked cichlid tank though. I’d be wary about washing that media under the tap for that tank.

In a lightly stocked heavily planted havent encountered any issues.
 

SRP3006

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I think the bacteria that lives in the media is more resistant than people give them credit.

Might be very different in a overly stocked cichlid tank though. I’d be wary about washing that media under the tap for that tank.

In a lightly stocked heavily planted havent encountered any issues.
Exactly that, I always make sure the water is around room temp, not freezing cold or scalding hot, but we're talking a reasonably quick blast of fresh water that removes a lot of crud. Just thinking out loud here so don't shoot me down please, but could we compare it to washing our hands, in that washing with water doesn't remove much bacteria if any at all? (present situation excluded, just talking generally)

I don't understand anything about bacteria.
Like I said just thinking out loud so I am probably talking absolute waffle
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
Is the consensus then that there is insufficient chlorine in the tap water to affect the bacterial population, or that a bacterial population in the filter isn't required in a heavily planted tank?
A bit of both really. Plants give you <"belt and braces">
Just thinking out loud here so don't shoot me down please, but could we compare it to washing our hands, in that washing with water doesn't remove much bacteria if any at all?
I asked a former colleague, <"who is a microbiologist">, and he said that short exposure to the 0.5 ppm Cl2 in tap water was not going to have much effect on the microbial assemblage in the sponge etc. Things <"could be different in the USA">, where they don't have any effective environmental legislation, so water companies routinely add <"up to 5 ppm Cl2"> because they can get away with it, and it's a cheap option.
Might be very different in a overly stocked cichlid tank though. I’d be wary about washing that media under the tap for that tank.
I would be as well, although my major worry would be physical loss of the biofilm, rather than the effect of the chlorine.

<"This is entirely hypothetical">, and is never going to happen, but if I was to go down the route of:
  • A non-planted tank (and no floating plants etc.)
  • without a substrate, and
  • I <"couldn't use a trickle filter"> (ideally planted)
  • and had to use a canister filter.
As well as big sponge pre-filter I would want <"Kaldnes type floating cell media">, because it is self-cleaning and sheds any biofilm which exceeds the optimal depth. I would also not want the filter too full of media to allow the media to move around.

I know a lot of monster fish keepers <"use washing up pot "scrubbies">, my guess is for the same reason, their structure means that they can never entirely clog.

cheers Darrel
 
Last edited:

EA James

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22 Jul 2019
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Staines-upon-Thames
I wondered something similar recently, I wanted to give the sponges in my FX4 a proper clean as squeezing them out in some tank water didn't seem to be cleaning them enough for my liking. I asked on here and @dw1305 suggested that uk chlorine levels are low enough for it to be safe to do so.

I was pretty nervous after cleaning them in the bath with the shower head but everything was fine when it was all up and running again. I know (or think?!) that the media holds more of the beneficial bacteria than the sponges so my point maybe not that valid!

I clean out the canister once a month so after reading this i might try alternate cleaning with tap water, one month media under the tap and sponges in tank water then swapping round the next time then everything gets a good clean but I'm still a bit on the safe side too. I must say cleaning the sponges under the tap was strangely satisfying 😂

Cheers
 

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