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How to Change Aquarium Filter Media Without Losing Bacteria?

How to Change Aquarium Filter Media Without Losing Bacteria?

Keeping a proper biological balance is extremely important for the maintenance of a perfect aquarium. Good bacteria are an essential part of an aquarium to keep the parameters in a balanced state.

The good bacteria also protect fish from different kinds of diseases. They do not let the pH to fluctuate. They are maintaining the entire biological balance inside the tank.

Filter media and bacteria are the main things supporting the entire aquarium balance. Filter media traps all of the aquarium wastage and makes the water pure while bacteria make a balance in water quality.

Without good bacteria, aquarium life would not be even possible. Bacteria protect the slime coating on the fish body. They maintain the aquarium life and keep fish healthy.

You can easily change the aquarium filter media without killing beneficial bacteria by shifting the good bacteria towards the new filter media, or by reusing it and cleaning some bacteria while leaving the others, There are several other methods explained below.

How to Change Aquarium Filter Media Without Losing Bacteria?

Changing your aquarium filter sometimes results in losing some of the good bacteria. There are some of the best ways by which you can clean your aquarium filter without killing good bacteria.

Clean Filter Media in Your Old Tank Water

The first and easiest thing that you can do is to clean up the old filter media in your tank water. Slightly press the filter media to make it clean.

Some of the dirty water will release inside the tank, but don’t worry; you can siphon this dirty water with the help of a gravel cleaner.

If the filter media is filthy with solid fish waste, then take the filter media out and remove the substantial fish wastage but do not wash it from tap water.

Just remove the fish poop from filter media and put it again in the aquarium. It will wash away the filter media foam with debris, but the useful bacteria will stay there.

The bacterial colony stays in the sponge or filter media and keeps the parameters balanced.

Reuse the old filter media 

Another thing which you can do is to reuse the old filter media in a new filter. If you want to change the extremely old filter that is not working well, then turn it but keep the media from the old screen.

In this way, you will have a new filter that will work efficiently and the old filter media with a colony of good bacteria.

Keep the Old and New Filter Both

You can keep the old filter with the new one for some time. So that the good bacteria shift from the old filter to the new filter, and then you can take the old filter out to wash and reuse.

The main thing is the shifting of good bacteria from old to the new site of colonizing. It will help not to disturb the balanced bacterial environment inside the tank. Buy a new filter from Amazon.

And the tank internal biological balance will not disturb as well. Good bacteria already forming the colony on old filter gets into the other one when you keep it inside your aquarium. 

It will take some time to shift all suitable microorganisms to shift on the new filter. After a few days, when you feel the new filter slimy with a bacterial colony, then at that time, you can take the previous filter out.

Colonize the New Filter Media

If you find your aquarium filter extremely dirty, then the only solution is to take it out and wash. As the bacterial colony is concerned, they are fast to regrow in a biological environment.

Put a new filter in your aquarium and wait for some days. The good bacteria will automatically grow there within some duration of time.

You can put the new filter media in your filter right next to the old one. Within one month, the bacteria will colonize the new media.

Then you can take out the old one after that. You do not have to worry because doing this is not going to disturb your internal aquarium environment.  

How do the Good Bacteria maintain the Biological Balance?

Good bacteria are the backbone of a healthy aquarium environment. They maintain the overall biological balance of the aquarium.

It is the sustainability of interrelationships among microorganisms to maintain the ecological state of the aquarium.

These bacteria keep the nitrogen levels to the bearable limit inside water. They also maintain the fish slime coat on their body and protect them from different kinds of skin diseases.

The pH remains stable because of these bacteria and the temperature as well but to a limited extent. Nitrogen balance and other things are also under the control of these biological microorganisms.

They can form their colony anywhere in the aquarium, especially on the gravel. The aquariums with water filters have bacterial colonies surviving on the filter media.

Because the water keeps on filtering, and bacteria get stuck in the filter media. Then they start growing on filter media and stays there for a long time.

They are essential for the nitrifying process as well. They are one of the main reasons for your fish survival in your home aquarium because every aquarium and the water you use in it is not fit for fish life.

They take the leftover fish food as their meal and do not let it stink. So, make sure that you clean the aquarium daily or weekly in small steps and avoid deep cleaning.

Sometimes people decide to deep clean everything for their beloved fish, and unfortunately, their pet dies after this. It is the point where all the problem begins.

Because the deep cleaning removes all of the good bacteria from the fish aquarium, that is why the problem occurs, which results in a biological imbalance.

Which Other Things Can Kill the Biological Bacteria?

If you are an aquarist, you will be familiar with the fish treatment medications. Morally, a sick fish should be treated in a quarantine aquarium.

When people are not familiar with the fact, they use the fish medication in the community tank. The medicine cures the sick fish but unfortunately kills the beneficial bacteria.

Similarly, when the supply of oxygen is less in the aquarium, the bacteria die. These bacteria are aerobic, which means they need oxygen for their growth and survival.

But when the supply of oxygen is less inside the tank, they are not able to survive for a long time. Make sure that your tank has enough oxygen supply so that the fish and healthy bacteria can live properly.

How to Check Aquarium Water for Healthy Bacteria?

As such, there is not a clear cut test to check that either the aquarium bacteria are present in water and doing their job well or not. And also they are so small to seem with the naked eye.

But it is a must to test your aquarium water quality daily for the bacteria, most importantly for your fish. The tests that you should perform are the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate tests, and pH test.

Make sure that the tap water you are using for your aquarium should be safe from harmful components, like some bad elements that kill the aquarium life.

Do You Really Need to Change Your Filter Media?

If your filter is working correctly, then there is no need to change it. Check out the flow rate and overall efficiency of your filter.

If it is working well, then there is no need to change it. But if the efficiency is slow, then you can change it for sure. Buy a new filter media.

Many of the filters have options for changing filter media without losing bacteria. There are different kinds of filters with varying systems of filtration.

Some of the filters have biological filtration, chemical filtration, and others, etc. Some of the filters have different sections for each of the filtration systems, as they are all in one package.

You can change the biological filter media for such filters. After a month, you can change the solid waste from filter media and reuse it.

If you want to change the media completely, then follow the procedures that are available here.  

Final words

This is how you can change your filter media without any problems like biological disturbances, etc.

You have to know the tricks to transfer bacterial colonies from one media to the other filter media, and everything will be balanced.

Read this complete article so that you can get complete information about the maintenance of the biological aquarium environment so that you may not kill the useful bacteria and unconsciously endanger your fish lives.

I hope that now you can change your aquarium filter without losing good bacteria.

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