How to Change Filter Cartridge in Fish Tank?

How to Change Filter Cartridge in Fish Tank?

Here are 8 easy DIY methods to remove and add a new filter cartridge in a fish tank. We have also added the benefits and cost of the aquarium filter cartridge.

How to Change Filter Cartridge in Fish Tank? You can easily change a filter cartridge in the fish tank by opening the filter lid and remove the cartridge, take a new filter cartridge, rinse it with water, and carefully fix it. You can change it often depending upon the need and following proper guidelines. 

Fish tank filter cartridges need a safe and optimal changing procedure to avoid causing harm to the fish and destroying beneficial bacteria. 

How to Change Filter Cartridge in Fish Tank?

Hygiene and maintenance are the keys to a healthy aquatic ecosystem, and you can achieve it by installing an efficient filtration system in your fish tank. Poor or lack of proper filtration leads to stagnant, smelly, and contaminated water that can destroy aquatic life.

Improper filtration is one of the reasons behind the death of plants and fish in a fish tank. So you should not take the cleaning and maintenance of your fish tank’s filter lightly. Spend considerable time and money to ensure the health and well-being of your ting aquatic world.

The filter is essential in a fish tank to purify water and produce water movements through current. It is necessary to remove all the debris, impurities, and contamination from the water and provide your fish with beneficial bacteria for survival. A filter performs all these activities with the aid of cartridges.

What is a fish tank filter cartridge?

A cartridge is a filtering media or activated carbon-containing bag in the filter that performs chemical, biological, and mechanical cleaning of the tank water.

Generally, It consists of encased chambers and partitions containing activated charcoal or carbon inside it.

When the water goes through the cartridge, it removes all the unwanted particles, pollutants, and contaminants from the water and ensures water purity.

Do you need a filter cartridge in a fish tank?

An activated carbon-containing filter cartridge is necessary for an aquarium setup. You can not maintain the water quality of your aquarium carbon media.

It filters out 81 types of common chemicals and 50 types of other chemicals and impurities partially through its porous membrane. However, it can not filter out metals, minerals, and inorganic compounds. It performs many functions like:

  • Remove dirt, chemicals, and all other impurities from the water.
  • It prevents bad-odor in the aquarium.
  • It eliminates the discoloration in water due to impurities.
  • Removes harmful bacteria to an extent
  • Help to increase the growth of beneficial bacteria.

How often to change filter cartridge in fish tank?

Although there is a typical life span of a filter cartridge, you can face a situation when you have to change it earlier. You can not leave it for a month relying on its written lifespan on the pack.

You can change it regularly, but doing this can prevent the growth of beneficial bacteria. Changing the filter cartridge earlier or later can be potentially harmful. Therefore, it is necessary to recognize the right time of changing it.

The impurities and chemicals accumulate in the cartridge resulting in the discoloration of the membrane. It starts turning brown, or it may become too heavy or bulgy and start producing off odor. When you notice visible impurities in the bag, it is time to change it. 

Decreased water flow

You can also identify the need for a change of cartridge by observing water flow. The water flows through the filter slower because it becomes clogged and full of impurities that result in decreased water flow. You can also manually make your fish tank filter less powerful.

Change in water odor and texture

Another way to recognize the need for change is to observe water texture and smell, as it may change with time due to improper filtration.

It is because of the loss of functionality of the cartridge to clean water. The water changes color, texture, or odor, and you have to add a new cartridge.

Broken cartridge

Sometimes, the cartridge membranes tears or break inside the tank and result in malfunctioning. You have to change it as soon as possible to prevent damaging fish and plants.

Steps to change filter cartridge in a fish tank

Before changing it, keep in mind that you need careful handling to avoid the loss of friendly bacteria. Also, try to recover as much of these bacteria as you can. You can conveniently change it using this method.

Removing old filter cartridge

  • After a regular water change, you have to turn off the filter and remove the plug.
  • Usually, filters have two slots, one for the new cartridge and one for the old; It is the reservoir slot.
  • Now open the filter lid and remove the old one out of the slot and place it at the back of the cartridge slot in the reservoir slot carefully. 
  • Do not shake or rinse it. Just place it carefully at the back without tearing or damaging it.
  • Keep it there for a minimum of two weeks.

Placing a new filter cartridge

  • Take out the new one from the pack carefully.
  • Tilt or slightly shake the carbon-containing cartridge for few seconds. It helps to distribute the carbon particles evenly inside the chambers as they may stick together in the pack.
  • Now rinse it with water. Never rinse it with tap water, and always use the tank water you replace during water renewal.
  • Add it in the filter’s slot, in the front of the old one. 

The benefit of keeping the old cartridge in the filter

As you know that the friendly bacteria grow on cartridges, so removing them out of the filter can cause loss of all of them.

When you keep this old one behind the new cartridge, it shifts the bacteria from old to new and accumulate and colonize them on it.

This technique helps prevent bacteria loss. After two weeks, when you have sufficient bacterial growth on the new cartridge, remove the old one, and discard it.

How long does a filter cartridge last?

 It is preferable to change the filter cartridge after four months to maintain the quality of water. It depends upon the aquarium capacity and water quality of a fish tank.

The more your aquarium water is high in quality, the more time you can keep it in the filter. Also, a large capacity tank contains more water, so they need a frequent cartridge change.

Most people use tap water in their aquarium that may contain chloride or other chemicals. In this case, you need to check it every week and must replace it after four weeks or a month. You should clean the filter every week to prevent the cartridge from deteriorating too fast.

Can you rinse and reuse a filter cartridge in a fish tank?

It is not preferable to rinse and reuse filter cartridges because rinsing them with chlorine-containing tap water can cause the loss of beneficial bacteria that grows on them.

This loss of beneficial bacteria is not healthy for the fish in the tank. When you rinse it with hot or cold water, it shocks the bacteria and results in their killing.

Although doing this can increase the lifespan of it but with the compromise of many benefits. Also, rinsing can not remove all the impurities and chemicals from the cartridge.

Reusing will not provide you with the required water quality and water flow. It is advisable to change it instead of rinsing or reusing it.

Cost of an aquarium filter cartridge

An aquarium filter cartridge is not too costly, and you can afford to change it every month. Usually, cartridges come in a pack of three to six, so you will always have an extra cartridge in stock to change at the time of need.

These packs cost between seven dollars to thirty-five dollars depending upon the size and count. These cartridges help improve the fish and plant health in your fish tank, so spending money on them is not a loss; They are worth buying.

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