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I  have been in the hobby of keeping tropical fish off and on since the mid seventies . TFH books and my local family owned fish shops had been my source of info for years. 

I took about 5 years off when I moved from New England to Tucson and did not move with my fish.  I am recently back into fish keeping and how things have improved. The internet is now an unlimited source of info and an fine example is Aquarium COOPs video on saving money by modifying hob filters.

I will never buy filter cartridges again! But have a few questions.

1) All of the cartridges from the manufactures have carbon in them. I had believed that it was an important part of a healthy planted aquarium. But with your modifications I do not see what replaces the carbon. Was it ever necessary? If so what replaced it in the new mods?

2) I use bio rings in my filters, did they replace the carbon?

3) Cleaning the sponges is mentioned but not how much to clean them. I know the bacteria is important part of the process but how much do you clean the sponges?

As a side effect of the internet I now have a lot of media to stuff into my filters and am not sure if I am missing something. I have a lot of new ideas from way to many different sources and am having trouble integrating them into one plan.

Thanks to all and any who can guide me in this wonderful addition to our lives.

My last word, on another subject is: Bettas need bigger spaces! If your head won't fit into their tank it is too small! Just sayin'



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"Bettas need bigger spaces! If your head won't fit into their tank it is too small!"


In my observations a well balanced tank should not need activated carbon. 

For the sponges I give them a few good squeezes in a bucket of tank water or non chlorinated tap water.  

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It really IS intimidating the first time you decide to revamp those HOBs, isn't it? I remember the trepidation I felt too! I'll answer your questions to the best of my (limited) knowledge.

1. I believe the carbon has been replaced with water testing. When we weren't testing, because we really didn't know we should, the carbon absorbed some of the things we didn't know were in our water:  ammonia, etc.
2. Bio rings are just lots of little surfaces for biomedia to cling to. They aren't a chemical element, but rather a physical surface, if that makes sense.
3. This should help:  

🙂 hope that helps a little,

Alesha (akconklin)

Edited by akconklin
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